I only knew him in the dark. I would occasionally steal a glimpse of him when the fuzzy dawn reached through the blinds but the light was distracting and unwanted.
His arm thrown over my pale ribs, his rough, worn hand against my belly or drawing slow gentle circles from the top of my ribs to the curve of my ass. He whispered secrets to me while holding my ankle captive with the soles of his feet.
His secrets were not the kind that could be shared face to face. This was the only place for them: a closed door, a bed and an absence of moonlight. As he confessed, his body grew warmer and warmer, making his touch nearly unbearable, smothering. But I valued my role as the guardian of his vulnerability so I tucked in close and allowed little ribbons of sweat to slip down my back and into cotton sheets.
When it became too much, I’d slowly roll away- exposing my back to the shock of the cooler air. For that moment we would be face to face, but apart. Safe enough for him to brush away the hair that became stuck to my cheek. Safe enough to wipe away droplets of sweat from my upper lip. But never safe enough to look towards my eyes.
I think he was always afraid that I would see his tears. Or that he wouldn’t see mine.
Today is Dia de los Muertos, a day to celebrate and honor loved ones who are no longer with us. Think about someone who has passed and write about a memory of them that focuses on one of your five senses. Obviously, be very descriptive and use this as an opportunity to celebrate this person rather than mourning them.